April 4, 2000
Glasgow 13th Note
When Adam & Eve (aka [a]Royal Trux[/a]) produced [a]Woodbine[/a]'s> debut album, they almost drowned it in psychedelic gloop....
When Adam & Eve (aka Royal Trux) produced Woodbine's> debut album, they almost drowned it in psychedelic gloop. Here, stripped to a three-piece, Woodbine prove their approach is much purer than those chemically altered > recordings suggest.
Like seminal lo-fi group Beat Happening, they've an endearing capacity for stalling on the simplest chord change, repeat-riffing over folk-mumbled vocals and rudimentary percussion. Visually, they're a washout, all dangling fags and tracksuits with no attempt at performance, but the melancholic shapes that emerge are subtly affecting.
'Mound Of Venus' is all glacial sighs, bouncing on a slight motorik groove that seems to draw from the same Euro-soundtrack bins that so besotted early Stereolab, whereas 'Tricity Tiara' is a murkier trawl through the dark comedown sounds of country-tinged psychedelia. However, after a while it all blurs into a homogeneous blob of shuffling acoustics and while tonight's appalling sound doesn't help, you can't help but wish they'd fought more for your attention.
Ultimately there's no great revelation, the scales won't fall from your eyes or anything, but on this evidence there's some real heart beating at the centre of their miniature compositions. Now let's see them put a bit of blood in the music, a bit of evangelical fire - it's nothing to be scared of.
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